The NRA As Tribe.

If you’ve not read Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” or “The Diamond Age”, you probably should. Both of those books describe a future where the post-Westphalian nation-state is either dead or dying, and the people of Earth have divided themselves up into “Phyles”.

Society in The Diamond Age is dominated by a number of phyles, also sometimes called tribes. Phyles are groups of people often distinguished by shared values, similar ethnic heritage, a common religion, or other cultural similarities. In the extremely globalized future depicted in the novel, these cultural divisions have largely supplanted the system of nation-states that divides the world today.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We are in a new era of personal empowerment, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the printing press was introduced into western culture, and guns are a big part of that personal empowerment. Once you realize that by choosing to arm yourself, you no longer have to hope there will be an armed representative of society nearby when you’ll need one most: You have become your own first responder.

So if we’re sorting ourselves into tribes, why WOULDN’T we sort ourselves into a shared belief in secure self-reliance? And that’s what NRA membership provides for us: It’s a sign that yes, you are one of my people, my tribe. That’s why “Freedom’s clenched fist” is a powerful line. In this new world of identity politics, identifying for personal security is a powerful message indeed.

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  1. George Orwell’s “1984” Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia nation-states are now too coarse descriptively and are insufficient.

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